Gender Inequality in India – Still a long way to go!

For a country of stark contrasts and baffling complexity, India still has a long way to go to become a developed nation. The enormous challenges for development are the marked disparities among different geographical regions, between social groups, among different income levels and between the sexes. Even though the ‘Female Foeticide’ issue is gaining prominence from several quarters, the demographics of this practice are still shocking!

Sex-selective abortions play a huge role in the current imbalances in the sex ratio. This goes on to emphasize the gender inequality and the neglect faced by the weaker gender in this nation. The country is led by a woman president, but India still remains as a patriarchal nation where boys are considered as ‘kuldeepak’ and girls are unwanted.

The basic problem for this lies in the typical mindsets of certain families who consider this something like a business. For example, if you invest in a son, he is more likely to give more returns like dowry, taking care of parents, lighting parents’ funeral pyre etc whereas a girl, in a sense, becomes the property of husband’s family once she is married and has limited ability to interact with her natal family.

With the poverty at the rate at which it is, poor rural families have meager resources to distribute among their children which lead to discrimination against girls.However, in contrast to the general expectation that this happens more in rural families, India has more missing women in urban areas. The only solution for this is to bring social recognition of the importance of women in the economy and in the society.

Every child, male or female is born with the same rights. Everyone must be given full opportunity to become a productive individual of the society. The society’s emphasis on equality of women must increase. There are many premier institutes in India which provide world-class education to thousands, while over 190 million Indian women remain illiterate.Gender disparity is evident as almost twice as many girls as boys are pulled out of school, or never sent to school.

While monitoring progress towards the national targets as outlined in the 10th Five Year Plan is important, data should also be generated and analyzed at local levels to ensure that services reach the most disadvantaged.

Nandana Nallapu

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